IUCN Viet Nam and the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) signed in late December 2007 a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Business for Sustainable Development in Viet Nam. This is an innovative approach to nature conservation in the country.
The agreement aims to: i) establish the Viet Nam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD), which will serve as a platform for dialogue and cooperation on sustainable development in the private sector; and ii) create the Business Trust Fund for Sustainable Development to solicit financing for conservation from the business community.
IUCN has of late forged a strong partnership with VCCI. Under this partnership IUCN co-sponsored the 2007 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Award for the textile and garment and footware sectors, which was co-organized by VCCI and Action Aid Viet Nam. For the first time in the history of CSR Award there is a separate award for the most environment friendly company in these two sectors. IUCN has presented the Environmental Prize for the 2007 CSR Award to Long An Garment Export Company.
These activities with the private sector are implemented within the framework of the emerging IUCN Business and Biodiversity Programme (BBP), which has been integrated into the Strategic Framework 2007-2010 of IUCN Viet Nam.
Under this programme, IUCN Viet Nam also works directly with companies to launch BBP pilot projects and models. The medicinal plants conservation project supported by Dilma Tea and the partnership programme with Holcim Viet Nam are examples of these partnerships.
Relying on support from Dilma Tea, Sri Lanka, IUCN is cultivating income generating opportunities through the sustainable harvest of medicinal plants such as cardamom and bitter tea in Northern Viet Nam. The agreement is in the final stage of discussions and will likely commence early in 2008.
With Holcim, IUCN Viet Nam is establishing long-term cooperation based on the global agreement between these two groups. IUCN Viet Nam conducted a site visit to Hon Chong cement plant and met with top management officials, laying the foundation for a long-term partnership in November 2007. A MOU and a five-year programme proposal are currently being finalized. In accordance with this agreement IUCN Viet Nam will help Holcim promote Corporate Social Environmental Responsibility (CSER) best practices and coordinate an integrated karst landscape management project near a Holcim quarry in Ha Tien province.
Moving forward, IUCN Viet Nam will continue to pioneer new approaches to CSR by disseminating knowledge, engaging with new stakeholders and coordinating the efforts of its members and partners to secure support from the business community to implement sustainable development in Viet Nam.